Sheldon Croney Jr. scored from a yard out in triple overtime and 21st-ranked Iowa State rallied to beat Northern Iowa, 29-26, on Saturday at Ames, Iowa.
La'Michael Pettway had a pair of touchdown catches for the Cyclones (1-0), who barely survived the season's first major upset after entering the year ranked for the first time since 1978.
Croney fumbled near the goal line on the second-to-last play of the game. But quarterback Brock Purdy sprinted from the backfield to recover it at the 1 and set up the game-winning plunge.
After the teams traded field goals in the first overtime, Purdy found Pettway — a graduate transfer from Arkansas in his Iowa State debut — in the back of the end zone. But Northern Iowa pulled even at 23-all after freshman Will McElvain scrambled long enough to free up Trevor Allen for a 7-yard TD catch.
Iowa State forced Northern Iowa into a field goal to start triple overtime, and Purdy completed three straight passes before pulling off what might end up being remembered as a season-saving recovery.
McElvain finished with 228 yards passing and a touchdown in his collegiate debut.
North Dakota State 57, Butler 10: Trey Lance threw for four touchdowns and ran for two more as defending FCS champion North Dakota State rolled past Butler in Minneapolis.
Lance, a redshirt freshman making his first start and one of 36 players from Minnesota on the Bison roster, dazzled a crowd of 34,554 at Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins and Vikings. He had all four of his passing touchdowns and a rushing score by halftime with NDSU leading 36-0.
The game was the first as a head coach for North Dakota State's Matt Entz, who had been the program's defensive coordinator the past five seasons.
The Bison, winners of seven of the past eight FCS championship games, including the last two, are again top-ranked and showed why, piling up 605 yards offense while holding the Bulldogs to just 198 — 67 in the first half — in the season opener for both teams.
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Lance broke up the middle to score on a 33-yard run for the first touchdown. Then he threw a perfect 47-yard pass on a fly pattern to Phoenix Sproles for another score. Two of the TD passes went to Josh Babicz, who was wide open in the end zone on both occasions.
Lance ran 61 yards for a third-quarter TD. He finished 10-of-11 passing for 185 yards and a 116 rushing on five carries. Ty Brooks had 93 yards on 10 carries, including a 36-yard score.
Kansas State 24, Indiana State 17: Carter Stanley threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Daylon Charlot with 2:20 left in the game, and Kansas rallied to beat Indiana State to avoid saddling new coach Les Miles with a devastating defeat in his debut at Lawrence, Kan.
The Sycamores had clawed back from a 16-3 deficit, taking the lead when Stanley fumbled in the end zone and Inoke Moala recovered it for a touchdown with 4:24 left in the game.
The Sycamores' Ryan Boyle threw for 219 yards with a touchdown, but he also tossed a pair of costly interceptions. Titus McCoy had 88 yards rushing before leaving with a left knee injury.
Montana 31, South Dakota 17: Dalton Sneed threw for a career-high 430 yards and had three passing touchdowns and another rushing to lead Montana past South Dakota in the season opener for both teams at Vermillion, S.D.
Sneed was 37 of 52 with two interceptions.
Austin Simmons, who threw for 3,142 yards last year, was 22 of 23 for 246 yards and two touchdowns for the Coyotes. Kody Case had 11 catches for 144 yards with touchdown plays of 3 and 9 yards.
South Dakota had won 16 straight home openers while Montana had lost 10 straight road openers.